Sermons 12th June, Trinity Sunday

Talk part 1

Sovereign God, how majestic is your name in all the earth.

Words we began our service with, the first sentence of Psalm 8, in some translations. In the translation we shall read together in a moment, those words are translated as Lord, our Lord, which seems, to me,  not so grand, not so worshipful perhaps even.


I was interested enough to examine this further to discover the original Hebrew reads “Yahweh, our Lord” which adds another whole level of depth. Yahweh, if you remember was the name of God revealed to Moses in the burning bush when he asks, what he should call God. The translation is “I am who I am” a mysterious revelation, leading  such mystery, such reverence for the name of God as Yahweh, that the jews felt it should not be uttered, the unspoken name of God and was  eventually replaced with Elohim, meaning Sovereign God, or simply God or Lord. Thus, perhaps why translators have struggled since to decide whether to use Sovereign Lord or our Lord, or God for this opening to the psalm.


But putting such theological debate aside, when you read the rest of the psalm, the sense of wonder, of awe of the mystery of God speaks out through the psalmist’s words, the poetry, perhaps even more for us on Sark as we recognise the psalmist’s wonder as he too stared into unlit dark skies and pondered “when I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars….”



Let’s never forget that sense of wonder, that mystery, even those unspoken names of God, the I am who I am, the Sovereign God, the God we know through Christ and yet who is unimaginable, majestic, awesome, beautiful,- and let us glorify the unspoken as we speak these wonderful words of Psalm 8.

Let us read together


Sovereign God,  how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory     in the heavens.

2 Through the praise of children and infants

    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,

    to silence the foe and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens,

    the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

    which you have set in place,

4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

    human beings that you care for them?[c]


5 You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e]

    and crowned them[f] with glory and honour.

6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;

    you put everything under their[g] feet:

7 all flocks and herds,

    and the animals of the wild,

8 the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea,    all that swim the paths of the seas.


9 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth

Talk part 2

When I was a young person, (not so many years ago), I used to read avariciously. I’d go down to the library every week and choose the maximum four books I could borrow on my somewhat battered library card and rush home and begin delving into the imaginary world within those pages.


 When I was younger it was the whole Biggles series, when older, I’d head for the Mystery section and choose the most exciting cover hoping for some hint of the mystery within.

It's quite disappointing now, that going into libraries or bookshops, what used to be entitled mystery is now simply headed “Crime”, even if the “Whodunnit’s” were crime stories, that word mystery had a more powerful draw on my interest, my desire to delve deeper into those pages.


In many senses, there’s a parallel with what I was pondering over those first few words of Psalm 8, how the words used could, or could not evoke that sense of a mysterious, awesome, sovereign God that the psalmist then attempts to unravel in the following 8 verses.


So when we come to our two other readings today, those set for this Trinity Sunday, where do we stand with this mysterious idea of the three in one, the triune God of whom we often speak.

John tries his best to convey, in the context of the  final words to his disciples, Jesus words about that mysterious God relationship- all that is of the Father is of Jesus and the Spirit receives from Jesus what is revealed to us.  And we hear those words, and we say “Sorry, say that again” because, if we think about it even just a little, it can easily set our minds in a spin. We say we believe it, but, actually, don’t really understand what it means, do we?


Then, in our second reading Paul attempts to put faith into the context of the messiness of human life, of God’s love, revealed by Jesus and poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and we get an inkling, a hint of something just a little understandable, perhaps.


I remember, when I was training for ministry, many of the established ministers and theological tutors said Trinity Sunday was one best to choose as your Sunday off, if you got a chance. No such luck here! Probably they said that, I think, because many a preacher has come unstuck in trying to explain the mystery of the Trinity.


Analogies abound, Ice, water and steam, all the same water but, all different. Or the three leaves of a single clover leaf, there are many more, but a bit like the Lord, Our Lord, of Psalm 8 was a thin version of what the psalmist was trying to say, those analogies don’t even scratch the surface of what the Trinity means or is.



When I was reading my mystery books as a youngster, the writer would draw me in with a trail of clues and red herrings, enticing me to think I’d solved the mystery only often for there to be a final twist and lo, the mystery was revealed on the final page.


It's tempting for us to do the same. To read every plot change, and twist and turn of the Bible, every chapter, and attempt to unravel the mystery, to think we’ve reached the solution. To try and explain the Trinity, for instance. And, it is true, the word of God does reveal the mystery in bite size chunks as we journey through its pages, but unlike any mystery story, the solution is emblazoned on almost every page, and yet, still the mystery remain! Succinctly put by Paul- God’s love, revealed in Christ and poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. The solution is love, God’s very essence. And yet the mystery remains.


Sometimes the best mystery stories I read from the library were those which left me hanging, not quite sure quite who had done it, what had really happened- would there be a sequel another book, or did the author want you to draw your own conclusion perhaps, or even be left wondering?


Let’s never lose the sense of mystery of God,- in the smallness of our humanity, the infinite nature of God is so far beyond our understanding that there can only be mystery, and wonder, and awe and majesty….. and an overwhelming and infinite love. And the great wonder of love is that it never needs to be explained, it just yearns to be experienced and known.


So my prayer for you all this Trinity Sunday is not that you go home with all the answers, with the mystery revealed, but that you may instead know the love of God, revealed by Jesus and poured out into your hearts through the Holy Spirit and like the psalmist then rejoice in God’s great and eternal mystery.